New Delhi: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik met the Union Minister for Urban Development, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi today.
Chief Minister apprised the Union Minister for Urban Development that the ongoing Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) in its present form denies freedom to the States to identify appropriate projects for different cities and is biased against Urban Infrastructure for Small & Medium Towns. He stated that major benefits under JnNURM accrue to States with large cities which have a greater capacity to absorb funds and not to States with smaller cities like Odisha. He suggested that JnNURM should be made State specific with complete freedom to the States to identify and implement feasible Urban projects. The basic entitlement of each State could be worked out based on different parameters such as Urban Population and Performance Grants linked to Urban Reforms. Chief Minister also suggested that the Additional Central Assistance linked to reforms under JnNURM may be modified to make it uniform 10% in case of both the components of Urban Infrastructure Governance (UIG) and Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small & Medium Towns (UIDSSMT).
Chief Minister informed Union Minister that there are pending claims amounting to Rs.104 crore under UIG and Rs.39 crore under UIDSSMT which may be released at the earliest. He also sought early release of 1st instalment of Additional Central
Assistance amounting to one-third of Rs.460 crore for enabling the State to undertake Bus Rapid Transit System in Bhubaneswar. Chief Minister drew the attention of the Union Minister to the pending proposals of the State including Water Supply projects for Berhampur Phase-II, Storm Water Drainage project for Jajpur Town and City Bus Service for Rourkela-Biramitrapur and Bolangir-Patnagarh under JnNURM and requested for early sanction of the said projects.
Chief Minister mentioned that only six cities of Odisha are covered under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) and impressed upon the Union Minister to sanction additional 35 cities under RAY early. Further, highlighting that the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) covers only 33 Urban Local Bodies in the State, Chief Minister requested for sanction of the remaining 73 Urban Local Bodies under NULM.
Union Minister was also requested to amend NULM guidelines by providing for a Community Organizer for 2000 BPL households in place of the existing norm of a Community Organizer for 3000 BPL households for effective monitoring of Urban Poverty Alleviation Programmes.
Union Minister for Urban Development assured the Chief Minister that all pending projects and claims shall be processed at the earliest. He assured that the issues raised by Hon’ble Chief Minister will be given priority and efforts will be made to modify the guidelines of JnNURM and NULM for ensuring greater decentralisation and equitable distribution of resources amongst different States. Union Urban Development Minister lauded the efforts being made by the State in implementing Urban Development Programmes and stated that Odisha is one of the best performing States in the country in carrying out Urban Reforms and other Urban Development and Urban Poverty Alleviation Programmes.